Hugh Laurie on the road to ‘Tomorrowland’

Mark Deming

Brad Bird is going out of his way to be sure no one learns too much too soon about his upcoming project "Tomorrowland." But one interesting bit of casting news slipped out today.

It's been reported that Hugh Laurie, best known as cynical physician Dr. Gregory House on long-running television series "House M.D.," is in line to play the villain in the top-secret project from Bird.

Laurie has a long history as a leading comic actor in England, having made a name for himself on such TV series as "Blackadder," "Jeeves and Wooster," and "A Bit Of Fry and Laurie" (the latter with Stephen Fry).

But "House M.D." finally made Laurie a star in the United States, and "Tomorrowland" could finally kick his movie career into high gear, after years of solid work in movies that didn't quite click (like "The Oranges," "Street Kings," and "The Flight of the Phoenix") and voice work on animated projects (including "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Arthur Christmas").

Laurie will join George Clooney in the cast of "Tomorrowland," though now that it's known who will play the lead and the bad guy, there's still no confirmation on what they'll be doing. Until very recently, the work-in-progress was known as "1952," with the new title revealed in late January. And while it's known that the movie will be directed by Bird (one of the top men on Pixar's creative team and the director of "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille" who moved into live action filmmaking with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol") and written by Damon Lindelof (one of the creators and main writers for "Lost" and screenwriter on "Prometheus" and "Star Trek: Into Darkness"), everyone involved has been tight-lipped about the story.

Rumor has it "Tomorrowland" will be a sci-fi themed period piece involving a UFO cover-up, but beyond some intriguing photos of a box of photos and memorabilia posted by Bird and Lindelhof, the details behind the movie remain unknown. But all should be revealed in December 2014, when "Tomorrowland" is anticipated to open in theaters.